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UN: nearly 500,000 people need help in Kenya
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Nearly half a million Kenyans will need assistance in the coming weeks and months as their country is still being plagued by political unrest and violence, the United Nations said on Friday.

So far 250,000 people have been displaced in Kenya and U.N. agencies are preparing to launch a joint appeal for humanitarian operations in the country, Elizabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told a news briefing in Geneva.

Byrs said the U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund had given approval for an initial allocation of 7 million U.S. dollars for aid operations in Kenya.

The bulk of that amount will go to traditional areas such as food, health, water, shelter and sanitation, she added.

Meanwhile, the World Food Program (WFP) said on Friday that it had started for the first time food distributions in the slum areas of Nairobi, in collaboration with the Kenyan Government and the Kenyan Red Cross.

The objective is the help 33,000 persons and to provide them with one week of rations, WFP spokesperson Christiane Berthiaume said in Geneva.

To date, the WFP has distributed a complementary food ration to46,000 internally displaced persons, in addition to 71,000 who had already received cereals provided by the Kenyan government and distributed by the Kenyan Red Cross. 

(Xinhua News Agency January 12, 2008)

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